The car had been acting up for several days. Why was it that once you paid off a vehicle, it started having problems? It seemed like every other month some crucial part needed replacing. As a couple of young married college students, working and going to school and struggling, the car stuff added a layer of excitement to our lives that we gladly could have done without.
I drove down Oak Street as I felt the car begin to make slight lurches. This was not good. If I could just get somewhere safe to pull over I could figure out what I needed to do. The light was green so I continued out across the intersection at Harkrider Street. Just as I made it to the halfway point, the “get up and go” ran out, and seemed to take all my good luck with it when it left. The car eked to a stop, right smack in the center of what was arguably the single busiest intersection in town.
My heart raced, my mind panicked and I had no idea what I was going to do. I only had short moments left before the light would change and the traffic headed perpendicular to me could slam right into me.
It was silent in my car as my mind raced. Just then, a minivan in the lane to my left pulled up beside me and slowed. The side door slid open, almost in slow motion. Three young boys emerged from the van. I saw a woman, presumably their mother, pointing at my car and talking. If I had to guess, I would have said the boys’ ages ranged anywhere from 10 to 13. They ran around behind my car and started to push it. Quickly getting with the program, I steered the car through the intersection and into the parking lot on the other side of Harkrider.
When it came safely to a stop, the van pulled back up next to me. The door slid open and the boys ran and hopped back inside. I unbuckled my belt to get out and thank them, but before I could even get out of the car they were off. The woman driving waved carelessly at me and drove off, pulling back out into traffic.
I sat there for a moment, incredulous. Long after that day was gone, I wouldn’t remember what had ended up being wrong with the car. I would never, however, forget the van with the boys piling out to push my stalled car to safety.